Mandatory reporting

Mandatory reporting requirements vary by state. This article focuses on California laws. See additional states' regulations

Child Abuse or Neglect

  • a child is a person under the age of 18
  • "when a mandated (physician) has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect"
  • Reports must be made to any police department or sheriff’s department asap
  • also required within 36hrs: The form to be completed regarding suspected child abuse can be found at

Elderly/Disabled Abuse or Neglect

  • An “elder” is any person residing in California, 65 years of age or older
  • A “dependent adult” is: any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who resides in California and who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities
  • When a mandated (physician) reporter, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment:
  1. Has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect;

Domestic Violence

  • physicians are mandatory reporters if he or she “provides medical services for a physical condition to a patient whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects is”:
  1. “suffering from any wound or other physical injury inflicted by his or her own act or inflicted by another where the injury is by means of a firearm”, and/or from assaultive or abusive conduct
  • report to local law enforcement within 2days

Statutory Rape

  • physicians are required to report in certain circumstances:
  1. Sexual intercourse with a minor accomplished with the use of force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury to the victim or another, or intercourse accomplished in any other way without


  1. Sexual intercourse between a minor who is under 14 years old and a partner 14 years old or older, irrespective of consent
  2. Sexual intercourse between a minor who is 14 or 15 years old and a partner 21 years old or older, irrespective of consent.
  • NOTE: No statute or case obligates providers to ask their minor patients about the age of the minors’ sexual partners for the purpose of reporting abuse
  • report to local law enforcement
Table of the mandatory reporting ages for "statutory rape" cases.

See Also

Interpersonal Violence